31 01 2010

Here are but two more stories I’ve heard today whilst at the lunch-table. Both serve to indicate the silliness of society.

The first involves my dad. Recently he has been caught speeding, again. Because this is not the first time it’s happened, he has been sent to a ‘speed awareness’ course. His colleague went on the same course last week. Apparently the demographic of those on the course is middle-aged business men, who have been caught speeding as a result of their work, not the boy-racers one might perhaps expect. Anyway, the course is very strict. If you are five minutes late, the course supervisor notifies the police and they automatically slap another three points on your licence. Of course these courses are not widespread throughout the country, but in just a handful of locations, meaning, inevitably, people get stuck in traffic getting to them. Which means they then have to speed to get to a ‘speed awareness’ course to avoid getting points on their licence. Makes sense?

The second story is perhaps more serious, and involves the NHS. Shrewbury hospital is in pretty close proximity to Wales. As such Welsh people use the hospital as it’s the closest to them. Of course the Welsh have slightly different health-care laws to the English. One consequence of this is that they can receive drugs without paying that the English cannot. Which creates the situation whereby you could have two people, sat side by side in a hospital both requiring the same drugs to help with their cancer. One can have them free of charge. The other can’t. Of course my dad knows someone on the wrong side of this. They are having to sell everything they can to have have these life saving drugs. Makes sense? It’s times like this you know that the law is an ass.


A Bony Tear Twist…

29 01 2010

So, as I write good ‘ol Tone is talking to some important people. You know the guy, was in charge of our country for a few years, took us to war, sorted out Northern Ireland forever, introduced minimum wage and told us that half the school leavers should go to university. That guy.

The trouble is, unemployment remains sky-high, the PM is struggling to solve the resurgent Northern Ireland problem, and the war which we were taken into is still raging.

So now he’s back, from wherever the hell he went to make an exoribant amount of money, and he’s talking. Not in straight sentences I’m sure, but talking nonetheless. Nick Robinson’s blog is the most revealing insight into Blair and his morning in front of the panel. The key thing, Robinson notes, is that regime change was always going to happen, regardless of the ’45 minute’ claim, regardless of whether WMD’s were ever found. War, it seems, was an inevitability.

The outcome of the inquiry is a long way away. But it does make for an interesting theoretical. Is it legal to go to war? Implicit in itself is the notion that war has to be a legal act. Can it really be such a thing? Obviously those up top think it can. I’m not convinced, and whilst I accept that perhaps certain motions have to be carried out before the declaration of war itself, I remain skeptical as to whether these can ever be completely listened to.

The simple fact is this. You will always have people in positions of power who will disagree with such a thing as war. It’s natural. If you listen to these people you never go to war. The consequences of this are that some dictator somewhere goes on killing his own citizens and developing the technology to blow you sky high.

Or you stop it. You do all the necessary talking, which, naturally result in ultimatum. You then have the courage of your convictions and follow through with your threats. This, I think, is what Blair did. It’s an odd situation I find myself in, supporting Blair. But I do think that whilst the grounds for the war fed to the public were slightly dubious, war was an inevitability.

War is never simple. There are pros and there are cons. This is the nature of the beast. But sometimes, just sometimes war is necessary. It’s what soldiers understand when they sign up. It’s what politicians understand when they encounter massive problems in foreign fields. It’s what the public of 1914 understood when they signed up in their thousands to join in the war effort. It’s what the public of today do not understand.

Yes, there does have to be an enquiry into it, because there was lying and false accusations. But no, it doesn’t mean that the war was any less justified. What has come afterward is natural too. The removal of a dictator means that there will be a power vacuum. It will be filled with the people who can intimidate the most. Thus peace-keepers were needed in the country. Indeed, they still are needed in the country. Whilst the democratic rebuilding exercise continues, the troops will be needed to help. Of course there is a problem if the democracy leans too heavily on the troops for support, but that’s a different problem.

The inquiry is an interesting thing. It will, most likely, find the war to be illegal, but won’t do much to remedy this. The overall result is that we went to war. Now we must deal with it. Not reflect on whether it was legal to do so. History will judge Blair and Bush, in the course of time. Lets deal with the cards we have on the table and not worry as to whether the cards should exist in the first place.

Interactive Padding…

28 01 2010

As I’m up earlier than normal on a day where I don’t have to be at work until 3pm (incidentally I’m watching the Australian Open Semi Final between Andy Murray and Marin Cilic); I thought I’d return to blogging, something I haven’t really done for a while (for which I apologise).

Anyway, I’m not a techno-geek. I want to reiterate this. I have a Wii, but got one late, and prior to this had only owned a Nintendo 64, almost a decade ago. My mobile phones haven’t been state of the art, but instead functional. My technology choices have been poor (I owned both a mindisk player and a GameBoy Advance – both inevitably doomed to be superseded very quickly). I still run on an old version of Windows office.

Despite this, the launch yesterday of the IPad from Apple had me drooling slightly. I don’t particularly care if it is a glorified IPhone. I’ve always said I wouldn’t want an IPhone, and I stand by this, but I would like an IPad. To me the IPhone is too large and clunky to be a phone, regardless of all the stuff it can do. The IPad however, isn’t meant to be a phone. I’m not entirely convinced even Apple know what it is meant to be. What it is though is a demonstation of their design capabilities. They’ve created it because they can. Simple.

And it looks good. Sat in the size range between a Mac and an IPhone, but with the same look as the first IPods, the IPad looks smart, sleek, and well designed. It looks practical too, you can carry it around with you (presumably only within your own home or work mind you). The whole range of new apps that have been promised, and will, undoubtedly be delivered, will add to the ‘feel’ of the IPad.

Without network restrictions, like the first IPhones, the IPad is likely to be much in demand, especially as the retail price of $499 is pretty reasonable. I’m looking forward to seeing how much it will cost in Britain, and what the limitations of the machine are (undoubtedly via the net in the next few days). However, it is likely that Apple will have done it again, with another successful development which increases the “I” range. It is simply the next step on the technological ladder. I’m looking forward to seeing one ‘in the flesh’ soon.

New Link…

17 01 2010

Just a quick pointer to another blog, again. The “Today I Found Out” blog is a great read, as well as pretty informative and answering some of lifes many questions. Check it out, you might learn something!

To Coup With Too Few…

9 01 2010

I really don’t want to say anything about this weeks farcical Labour story, frankly it’s laughable and probably pretty embarrassing for most involved with the party. All I wish to do is to bring your attention to an editorial in the Indy on Thursday. It’s a pretty accurate summation of the situation the Labour party find themselves in, and, if I recall rightly, pretty close to something I wrote a while back. The article is here to read.